IMC 2022: Speakers

2022 East-West Center International Media Conference
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Associate Professor, Dept. of Oceanography & Sea Grant, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa

Dr. Rosie ʻAnolani Alegado (@algoriphagus) is an Associate Professor of Oceanography and Sea Grant in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She serves as the director of the Sea Grant Ulana ʻIke Center of Excellence and the director of the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge, a near-peer mentoring program for students transitioning from Hawaiʻi community colleges to UH Mānoa. A microbial oceanographer at the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education, her group uses model systems and field experiments to investigate how ecology informs evolution of microbes and their symbioses.

Dr. Alegado’s work focuses on how microbial interactions may have large-scale consequences for ecosystem resilience. Her research program is rooted in meaningful academic collaborations and partnerships with indigenous communities. She is committed to training the next generation of scholars to draw upon multiple knowledge systems in order to address key problems and to empower communities to understand and protect their resources. Dr. Alegado earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Minor in Toxicology and Environmental Health from MIT, a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in evolutionary biology with Nicole King at UC Berkeley. Her professional service includes serving as Vice Chair of the City and County of Honolulu Climate Change Commission and the National Academy of Science and Engineering Ocean Studies Board.

Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, US State Department

On April 4, 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delegated the functions and authorities of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs to Elizabeth M. Allen (@UnderSecPD). She has served as the assistant secretary of global public affairs since September 2021. With over 15 years of strategic communications and public affairs experience, Ms. Allen specializes in message strategy, project and crisis management, and leadership communications. She was previously a partner at Finsbury Glover Hering (FGH), leading integrated communications campaigns and providing strategic counsel to a range of global philanthropic, corporate, non-profit and entertainment clients.

In 2020, Ms. Allen served as Vice President Kamala Harris’s communications director on the Biden-Harris Presidential campaign. Prior to FGH, she spent seven years in the Obama-Biden White House, serving as deputy communications director and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama, white house director of message planning, and deputy director of communications to then-Vice President Joe Biden. During her White House tenure, Ms. Allen drove communications planning around the President’s priorities, domestic and foreign policies, and legislative and outreach strategy. Her former public service extends to the US Department of State, where she served as director of public affairs for educational and cultural affairs, focusing on public diplomacy and the impact of people-to-people exchange programs and international education. She previously worked at the State Department on human trafficking and international women’s issues.

News Reporter (Retired), The Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Helen Altonn retired in 2010 after 55 years as a Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter and occasional editor. She covered science on and off with other beats, including the University of Hawaiʻi, state government, politics, the Legislature, human services, public safety, health and medical issues. 

She was born and raised in Nebraska and graduated from Colorado Women’s College and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She worked two years on a small daily newspaper in California before joining the Star-Bulletin

During her lengthy career, she covered a wide range of events, from presidential visits to volcanic eruptions and hurricanes. She reported on a solar eclipse from Mauna Kea and toured off Oahu in a small UH research submersible. She interviewed countless people, from prisoners and hippies, scientists and doctors to notables such as Charles Lindbergh, Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Richard Nixon (before his presidency), and Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

Helen was based at the Adelaide News and traveled throughout Australia under an International Press Institute fellowship. She worked as a city-desk loaner at USA Today in Washington DC and an East-West Center fellowship took her to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Jakarta for a series on avian flu and other health issues. She received numerous awards over the years. 

After retiring from the Star-Bulletin, she assisted with communications at the John A. Burns School of Medicine for about a year, then volunteered as a writer for AARP. She looks back on her newspaper career as a great adventure. It was never boring. 

Journalist, Yonhap News Agency

Nari Baek is a Korean journalist at Yonhap News Agency (YNA) specializing in both inter-Korean relations and US-DPRK relations. She has traveled North Korea three times in her career. She previously worked for YNA's Washington bureau covering the Trump administration and is currently based in Seoul with the agency's Department of Content Editing.

General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches

Rev. James Bhagwan (@PadreJB) is from Fiji and currently serves as the General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, the peak ecumenical organisation in the Oceania region. Birthed in 1961, today the PCC consists of 33 member churches and 10 national councils of churches across 18 Pacific Island states and territories and comprising some 70% of the Pacific's human population, the PCC's key focus areas over the last 6 decades include Ecumenism; Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Self-determination (including Youth Engagement and Empowerment, Child Protection and Gender Justice); and Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice.

Rev. James is the chaplain for the traditional voyaging canoe the Uto Ni Yalo which advocates for gender-equitable sustainable sea transport, and works with coastal and island communities towards healthy oceans. He is also a trustee of the Uto Ni Yalo Trust and as a volunteer crew member, holds the rank of Watch Captain on the Uto Ni Yalo.

A keen swimmer and stand-up paddler, James is one of the founders of the Viti SUP and Va'a Collective which promotes healthy lifestyles and brings paddlers and sailors as a catalyst for coastal and riverside communities to reduce river and ocean pollution. He also is a co-founder of the Suva SUPers Collective which also spearheads regular coastal and waterway clean-ups in the Suva area.

Senior Assistant Editor, Editorial Page, Anandabazar Patrika

Swati Bhattacharjee is Senior Assistant Editor of the Editorial page at Anandabazar Patrika and President of the South Asian Women in the Media (SAWM) India. She writes on health, education, agriculture, and other areas related to gender justice and poverty alleviation. She has a PhD in Social Science from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; an MA in Philosophy from Jadavpur University; and an MSc in Media Research from the University of Stirling, UK.

Bhattacharjee was a 2010 Nehru-Fulbright Fellow at MIT's ALJ Poverty Action Lab, a 2006 East-West Center Jefferson Fellow, and a 2018 recipient of the East-West Center International Media Conference's Journalists of Courage and Impact award. She has authored and edited several books and is Visiting Faculty at Azim Premji University's School of Development in Bangalore.

Politics & Opinion Editor, Honolulu Civil Beat

Chad Blair (@ChadBlairCB) has been a writer, editor, and teacher in Honolulu for more than 30 years. As politics and opinion editor for Honolulu Civil Beat, his role is to cover how political and policy decisions impact Hawaiʻi's people and communities. Blair has worked as a journalist for Pacific Business News, Hawaii Public Radio, and Honolulu Weekly. He has taught at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu Community College, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, and Chaminade University of Honolulu.

Blair was the lead author on a series on Micronesian immigration to the United States published by Civil Beat. “The Micronesians” earned first place for online presentation as well as for immigration and border reporting at Best of the West 2016. Blair earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American studies from UH Mānoa. His dissertation, Democracy in Hawaii: Class, Race and Gender in Local Politics (1996), was published as Money, Color and Sex in Hawaii Politics (Mutual Publishing; 1998).

National Reporter, Axios

Nathan Bomey is a Washington DC-based national business reporter for Axios and co-author of Axios Closer, a daily newsletter on the biggest business stories of the day. He is also the author of three nonfiction books: Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back; After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump; and Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age. His books have won praise from The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and Publisher's Weekly.

Before joining Axios in 2021, Nathan was a business reporter for USA Today for several years. Previously, he served as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press and several publications in his home state of Michigan. Nathan also served as producer and scriptwriter of Gradually, Then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detroit, a full-length documentary film to be released soon that was recently awarded the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film. A 2012 participant in the East-West Center's China-United States Journalists Exchange, Nathan is a 2006 graduate of Eastern Michigan University and winner of several national journalism honors, including the National Headliner Award. 

Deputy Vice President of Global Impact and Strategy, International Center for Journalists

Luis Botello (@lbotello) is the deputy vice president of global impact and strategy at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a leading international organization working in the interception of media and technology and empowering a network of journalists worldwide. At ICFJ, Botello oversees ICFJ’s monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) process and leads ICFJ’s efforts in ensuring programs’ impact. Botello is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in reporting critical issues and managing international media programs. He is also an international media analyst for major news networks such as CNN en Español, NTN 24, and Voice of America. During his reporting career, Botello covered assignments in Latin America, the US, and Europe, focusing on US military operations, as well as political and labor issues. I also covered presidential summits in Latin America, elections and presidential visits to Washington DC.

At ICFJ, Botello has served in various leadership positions, including senior program director of special projects and director for Latin American programs. In these roles, I designed and launched several of the most impactful ICFJ programs that engage media, civil society, and government officials. Botello launched ICFJ’s flagship program, the International Journalists Network (IJNet), and expanded ICFJ’s presence in Latin America, helping make it the premier journalism organization in the region that develops groundbreaking programs on journalism ethics, press freedom, digital technology, and investigative reporting in more than 20 countries.

Deputy Editor, Quint Lab, The Quint

Meghnad Bose (@MeghnadBose93) is an award-winning Indian multimedia journalist currently working at The Quint, one of India’s largest independent digital news platforms. As Deputy Editor of Quint Lab, Meghnad helms innovations in journalistic storytelling across the organization. He also continues his reporting endeavors, working on documentaries and special projects. 

His documentary The Making of Lynchistan, which uncovered the modus operandi of anti-Muslim lynch mobs in India, received the South Asian Digital Media Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Though Meghnad’s investigative work and ground reportage has spanned a range of issues and beats, his biggest area of focus continues to be the ongoing rise of Hindutva extremism in India, and how it impacts the country and its people. 

Epidemiologist & Senior Research Fellow, East-West Center

Dr. Tim Brown is a Senior Fellow in the Research Program at East-West Center, where he directs a small team of epidemiologists and programmers in developing and applying tools for HIV modeling and analysis. He works closely with UNAIDS, the Global Fund, Avenir Health and national partners throughout Asia to improve national responses to HIV epidemics and ensure available resources are invested to produce the greatest benefits. He is a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Modeling and Projection, an advisor to UNAIDS and the Global Fund on HIV modeling and evaluation issues, and an advisor to the Scientific Committee on AIDS and STD in Hong Kong. Before joining the Center, he was formerly assistant professor in electrical engineering, University of Hawai'i; adjunct assistant professor in the Program on Computing, Department of Mathematics, University of California at Los Angeles; and applications group manager, AMETEK Computer Research Division, Pasadena.

Political Columnist and Editorial Page Editor (Retired), The Honolulu Advertiser

Jerry Burris is a retired author, editor, and journalist. He worked at The Honolulu Advertiser for nearly 40 years reporting on politics and governmental affairs, ultimately finishing his career as a political columnist and editor of the Advertiser's editorial pages. He was previously a correspondant for United Press International in Honolulu and is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Burris was a 1973 East-West Center Jefferson Fellow has participated in a number of East-West Center program including the Senior Journalists Seminar, the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, and several urban planning seminars. He has authored or coauthored several books on Hawaiʻi's history, including The Dream Begins: How Hawaii Shaped Barack Obama with coauthor Stu Glauberman.

Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs

Dr. Kurt M. Campbell is a former senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. In 2021, he was named Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs in the National Security Council, prior to which he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Asia Group, LLC, a strategic advisory and capital management group specializing in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

From 2009 to 2013, he served as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, where he is widely credited as being a key architect of the “pivot to Asia.” Dr. Campbell previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific, Director on the National Security Council Staff, Deputy Special Counselor to the president for the North American Free Trade Agreement in the White House, and White House fellow at the Department of the Treasury. He was an officer in the US Navy Reserves, serving on surface ships, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Advisory Unit. Dr. Campbell has also served as a senior executive or board member for numerous businesses, think tanks, philanthropic organizations, and publications.

For advancing a comprehensive US strategy that took him to every corner of the Asia-Pacific region, Secretary Hillary Clinton awarded him the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award (2013) — the nation’s highest diplomatic honor. Campbell was recognized in the Queen’s New Year’s list of honors in 2014 as an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia and as an Honorary Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in support of American relations with Australia and New Zealand respectively. He has also received top national honors from Korea and Taiwan. He is the author or editor of ten books, most recently The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia.

North America Bureau Chief, South China Morning Post

Robert Delaney is the South China Morning Post's North America Bureau Chief. He established the SCMP's US bureaus in 2017 as part of the Hong Kong publication's transformation from a local newspaper into a global media organization. Robert assumed the role after many years covering Asia for media outlets including Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires from Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Singapore. A dual Canadian and US citizen, Robert attended the Hopkins-Nanjing Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and earned a master's degree from Toronto's Ryerson University, where he specialized in comparative diplomatic rhetoric. Robert's debut novel The Wounded Muse is based on true events surrounding the disappearance of a documentary filmmaker in Beijing just before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, threading together the issues of censorship, unprecedented economic growth, and the isolation of China's LGBTQ community. Robert is also a Black China Caucus mentor.

Freelance Multimedia Journalist and Documentary Film Producer

Cape Diamond (@cape_diamond) is a multimedia journalist and award-winning documentary film producer based in Myanmar. During the Rohingya genocide, Cape worked for international media as the most contributed and reporting journalist on the crisis in Myanmar and mainly covering human rights, crisis and conflicts in Myanmar. As a documentary producer, his works have been aired on Al Jazeera, ABC News, CBS, and more. Mr. Diamond contributed to the BAFTA Award-winning documentary Myanmar’s Killing Fields and the New York Film Festival gold medal award winner The Rohingya Exodus. His recent works can be found on CNN, Al Jazeera English, Sky News (UK), Channel 4 (UK), the LA Times, The GuardianThe Washington Post, and Nikkei Asia. Cape Diamond is currently covering the ongoing military coup in Myanmar for several international news outlets. 

Editor and Publisher, Nepali Times

Kunda Dixit (@kundadixit) is a journalist and editor. He is co-publisher at Himalmedia which produces the weekly Nepali-language magazine Himal Khabarpatrika, and chief editor of the English-language weekly newspaper Nepali Times.

Dixit is a graduate of Columbia University and started out as a reporter for BBC Radio at the United Nations in New York before serving as the Asia-Pacific Regional Editor of Inter Press Service. He returned to Nepal to set up Panos South Asia and is the author of several books, including a trilogy on the Nepali conflict, and Dateline Earth: Journalism As If the Planet Mattered.

He served a two-year term as the board chair of the Centre for Investigative Journalism – Nepal and teaches Media Studies at Kathmandu University and as visiting faculty at New York University Abu Dhabi.

Research Director, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy

Dr. Joan Donovan (@BostonJoan) is the Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, where she leads The Technology and Social Change Project (TaSC). TaSC explores how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. TaSC conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns.

Prior to joining Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Donovan was the Research Lead for Data & Society’s Media Manipulation Initiative, where she led a large team of researchers studying efforts to manipulate sociotechnical systems for political gain. She continues to hold an affiliate appointment with Data & Society. Dr. Donovan received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California San Diego, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, where she studied white supremacists’ use of DNA ancestry tests, social movements, and technology.

News Director, Hawaiʻi Public Radio

Bill Dorman is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has covered stories from more than 20 countries and territories. Born in New York City, he spent 21 years at CNN in various positions behind the scenes and on the air in Atlanta, New York, Washington and Tokyo. He was also managing editor of Asia Pacific Broadcast for Bloomberg News for five years before moving to Hawaiʻi in 2009, where he has been the news director of Hawaiʻi Public Radio since February 2011.

Environmental Media Host, Activist, and Digital Media Strategist

Kristy Drutman (@BrownGirl_Green) is a Jewish-Filipina environmental media creator and founder of Brown Girl Green, a media platform exploring the intersections between media, diversity, and environmentalism.  As a sustainability communications expert, Kristy has spoken in front of thousands as well as facilitated workshops centered around environmental media and storytelling in cities across the United States. She has also worked with youth from around the world to create collaborative, intersectional online media with the goal of creating conscious, culturally relevant content to engage audiences about proactive solutions to the climate crisis.

Former Chair, Media Freedoms Committee, Foreign Correspondents Club of China

Jocelyn Ford (@MediaLiteracy2D) is an award-winning US journalist, documentary filmmaker, and media educator. Over her four decades in East Asia, Ford has been a pioneer in covering underreported social justice issues. As the first foreign journalist in the Japanese Prime Minister’s press corps, Ford’s persistent reporting during the 1990s on World War II sex slaves led to the government’s acknowledgement of its role in wartime atrocities against “comfort women.” Ford founded news bureaus in both Tokyo and Beijing for American public radio's premiere business show, Marketplace. In 2001 Ford became the first foreigner to co-host a live news show at state-run China Radio International, where she introduced greater balance in reporting. Ford later launched the Media Freedoms Committee at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China. Her groundbreaking documentary Nowhere to Call Home: A Tibetan in Beijing has been screened worldwide, including as a training film for Chinese state media. Ford currently teaches documentary filmmaking and journalism at Chinese universities.

Climate Activist for Sāmoa

Brianna Fruean (@Brianna_Fruean) is a 23-year-old Samoan climate change activist best known for delivering the opening speech of the 2021 COP26 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow to an audience of world leaders. Brianna has been leading community grassroots projects pushing for climate justice for most of her life. At 11, she became a founding member of the Samoan chapter of the climate organization, also becoming the youngest country coordinator. At 16 she became the youngest winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Award for her environmental activism.

Professor of Management Communication, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Dr. Deepti Ganapathy (@GanapathyDeepti) is a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Ganapathy worked as a print, broadcast, and digital journalist for close to a decade with leading Indian media organizations. She holds a PhD from the Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Mysore.

Dr. Ganapathy's research has been published in leading academic journals and explores the use of media for strategic political and corporate communication, climate change communication, news coverage of human trafficking, health communication, and digital activism. She has presented at several international conferences including the East-West Center International Media Conference; the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference, and the International Communication Association (ICA) Asia Regional Conference.

Dr. Ganapathy comments on education, communication strategies, climate change communication, and political communication for venues such as Forbes India, The Times of India, Deccan Herald, IJNet, and The Economic Times. Her recent book Media and Climate Change: Making Sense of Press Narratives calls for concerted climate action by creating closer collaborations between disciplines for better understanding and communication. She is also the co-founder of INDEEP, a social enterprise that empowers rural children and teachers by introducing them to creative learning practices.

Professor of Media Studies & Associate Dean for Research, Hong Kong Baptist University

Dr. Cherian George (@cheriangeorge) is a Professor of Media Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Communication and Film, where he also serves as Associate Dean for Research. He studies media freedom, censorship and hate propaganda. His books include: Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracy (MIT Press, 2016); Red Lines: Political Cartoons and the Struggle against Censorship (with Sonny Liew, MIT Press, 2021); and Media and Power in Southeast Asia (with Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Cambridge, 2019). He received his PhD in communication from Stanford University and holds a master’s from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Before joining academia, Professor George was a journalist at The Straits Times in Singapore. He continues to practice professional journalism as the editor and publisher of What’s Up, an independent monthly current affairs newspaper for Singapore schoolchildren. He has served as a judge for various international journalism awards including the Fetisov Journalism Awards.

US Bureau Chief, The Straits Times 

Nirmal Ghosh (@karmanomad) is US Bureau Chief for The Straits Times, Singapore and Southeast Asia’s top English daily newspaper. He is also an author and documentary filmmaker. Mr. Ghosh has been a foreign correspondent since 1994, in Manila, New Delhi and Bangkok, covering politics, elections, conflict and coups d’etat, natural disasters, social and environmental issues, and geopolitics across Asia. His journalism has won PANPA and SOPA awards. Mr. Ghosh was a 2015 East-West Center Jefferson Fellow and a 2016 participant in the East-West Center's US Presidential Election Reporting Seminar. He is a former two-term president of both the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines and the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Thailand. He is on the board of the Vienna-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, and a trustee of The Corbett Foundation, a non-profit which works with local communities and authorities in wildlife conservation in India. 

Head of Security Policy, Meta

Nathaniel Gleicher (@ngleicher) is the Head of Security Policy at Meta, where he leads company-wide effort to counter emerging and persistent threats across the company's platforms, including influence operations, cyber-espionage, and cybersecurity risks. He is an engineer and lawyer, and has worked in security for more than fifteen years. He has taught computer science, built and secured computer networks, and prosecuted cyber crime at the US Department of Justice. He served as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council (NSC) in the White House, and as head of cybersecurity strategy at Illumio. At the NSC he developed US government policy on key technology and cybersecurity challenges, including encryption, cyber deterrence, internet governance, and network security.

Director, Media Programme Asia, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Ansgar Graw is a German journalist and publicist. Since August 2021 he is director of the Singapore-based Media Programme Asia of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. In Berlin he has observed German domestic and foreign policy over many years. A historian and political scientist by degree (University Hamburg), he was chief political correspondent in Washington DC for the daily newspaper Die Welt and Germany’s biggest quality Sunday paper Welt Am Sonntag from 2009-2017. From 2020 to 2021, Graw was publisher of the debate portal TheEuropean and host of the weekly TV talk format “TheEuropeanTV” (Berlin.TV). Graw is the author of several books, most recently Die Grünen an der Macht: Eine kritische Bilanz and Trump verrückt(e) die Welt: Was nun? (both Munich 2020).

Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting

Dilrukshi Handunnetti (@DilrukshiH) is an international award-winning investigative journalist and foreign correspondent. She currently serves as Executive Director at the Colombo-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), co-founded with two journalists.

Her reporting has sharply focused on politics, international affairs, systemic corruption, governance, public health, environment, gender and international labour migration. She has reported on South Asia extensively and delivered journalism trainings across the region including places considered  among the world’s most dangerous.

A lawyer by training, Ms. Handunnetti counts over 25 years of experience in law and journalism. Her work has appeared in The GuardianWashington Post, Al Jazeera, The Humanitarian, and several other international news outlets. She currently serves as the Sri Lanka Editor for Mongabay.

Interim Director, Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

Dr. Mary Therese Perez Hattori is Interim Director of the East-West Center's Pacific Islands Development Program. Prior to this, she was a Scholarship Program Specialist in the East-West Center’s Education Program; Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning and Associate Professor of Education at Chaminade University; Outreach Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; and Associate Professor of Information Technology and Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Technology at Kapiʻolani Community College.

A native Chamoru of Guåhan (Guam), she is a community organizer and advocate for Pacific islanders in Hawaiʻi; co-organizer of cultural events such as the Annual Cultural Animation Film Festival, the Annual Celebrate Micronesia Festival, Micronesian Women’s Summit, and Oceania on the Reel; and teacher/mentor of students in Pacific Studies, Learning Design & Technology, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa & San Francisco State University Educational Doctorate programs as part of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. She is Affiliate Graduate Faculty of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the USC Rossier School of Education. Dr. Hattori is also an author, poet, public speaker, and philanthropist.

Senator and Former President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Senator Hilda Cathy Heine, EdD (@Senator_Heine) served as the eighth President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands from 2016 to January 2020. She is the first woman to serve as President of the country and the first woman to serve as head of state in any of the five Micronesian countries of the North Pacific. Prior to becoming President, Dr. Heine was the nation’s Minister of Education. She is currently a senator representing Aur Atoll.

Dr. Heine was the first person in the Marshall Islands to earn a doctorate degree. In 1987, she co-founded the women's rights group Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI). She attended university in the United States where she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon. She earned a master's degree at the University of Hawai‘i, and an educational doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Chief National Correspondent, Voice of America

Steven L. Herman (@W7VOA) is chief national correspondent of the Voice of America (VOA), reporting on major American stories including climate policy, as well as helping shape VOA's 2022 midterm election coverage. From 2017-2021, he was senior White House correspondent and subsequently VOA's White House bureau chief. During the Donald Trump administration, Mr. Herman was the radio pool reporter on dozens of Air Force One flights, including the 45th president's final flight to Florida. In 2020, he covered the Republican incumbent's campaign, as well as that of the Democratic challenger and eventual victor, Joe Biden. Mr. Herman spent more than 25 years in Asia, including years of reporting from Tokyo; as VOA correspondent and bureau chief in India, South Korea and Thailand; and as VOA's senior diplomatic correspondent based at the State Department. In addition, he spent years reporting for AP as the wire service's state broadcast editor in West Virginia. His career has also included stints as a media executive in Asia, launching Discovery Channel and Animal Planet in Japan before becoming senior vice president at PCCW Japan. Mr. Herman is one of 22 journalists who comprise the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism's inaugural class in climate reporting.

Program Coordinator, Internews

Based in the Fiji Islands, Donna has worked most of her life in the Pacific region with stints in Tanzania and the United States. In her capacity as a media and communications specialist for international and regional organizations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund, Forum Fisheries Agency, and the Pacific Community, she has built a network of media, government and non-government partners. Her work involves building the capacity of media and other organizations that share a common goal with Internews.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, The Storm Media

Ching-Fang "Ann" Hsieh is Deputy Editor-in-Chief at The Storm Media, one of the leading digital news organizations in Taiwan. She has worked for The Storm since July 2020 and is responsible for in-depth reports focusing on economic issues, climate change and sustainability. Previously, Ching-Fang worked for the China Times (Taiwan) for more than 25 years, where she served as Deputy Editor-in Chief from 2014 to 2020 and Director of the economic news desk from 2002 to 2008. She earned a master’s degree in Mass Communication from Fu Jen Catholic University and was a 2008 East-West Center Jefferson Fellow.

Editor, Pacific Environment Weekly

Dr. Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson (@lagipoiva) is a Samoan journalist and scholar who has spent over 20 years reporting on climate change, human rights, gender and culture from an island perspective. She was a Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford where she wrote a pioneering study on the coverage of the climate crisis in the Pacific islands.

Lagipoiva is the host of "The Impossible Choice" a series by The Guardian, Pacific Project focusing on the existential nature of the climate crisis. She is the recipient of a National Environment Award by the Government of Samoa recognizing her work in climate journalism. She is a mentor and advocate for Pacific journalism and works with the International Federation of Journalists, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and New Narratives to strengthen and support journalism in the Pacific islands.

News Editor, Afghanistan International TV

Parwiz Kawa (@parwizkawa) is a media specialist, civil society activist, and journalist with more than 20 years of experience working in radio, television, and print media. A 2018 recipient of the East-West Center International Media Conference's Journalists of Courage and Impact award, he is now serving as News Editor at Afghanistan International TV in Washington DC. Kawa previously served as Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of Hasht e Subh Daily in Afghanistan. He is an advisor to Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC) and a jury member for selection of the Journalist of the Year in Afghanistan. Kawa has graduated from the school of Law and Political Science at Kabul University, and holds a Master’s degree on Peace, Security, and International Development Studies from the University of Innsbruck.

Senior Research Fellow, East-West Center

Dr. Victoria Keener is a Senior Research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and the Co-Lead Principal Investigator of the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments (Pacific RISA) program. Dr. Keener does interdisciplinary research enabling practical applications of climate science for decision making at the local and regional scale in Hawai`i and the Pacific Islands, specializing in freshwater hydrology. Her modeling work uses multivariate time-series analysis and varied spectral methods to identify dominant climate trends in hydrological variables and how they change through time.

President & CEO, Edelman Asia-Pacific

Stephen Kehoe (@smkehoe) is President and CEO of Asia Pacific at Edelman, a position he as held since July 2019. Prior to this role, he was Global Head of Sectors & Practices at Edelman, which provided leadership over public affairs, corporate communications, executive positioning, consumer brand and a range of industry specialisms, such as health, technology, food and financial services. Stephen’s experience spans 25 years of international communications and reputation management. He joined Edelman in January 2018 as Global Chair of Reputation, which included steering the firm’s work on the annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

Media Program Manager, East-West Center

Susan Kreifels manages​ the East-West Center’s journalism fellowships and exchanges and has directed the EWC's International Media Conference since it began in 2008​. A former journalist for two decades, she covered Asia and the Pacific Islands while based in Manila, Tokyo, Washington DC, Honolulu, and Guam. Kreifels reported for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, USA TODAY, Dallas Morning News, and Pacific Stars and Stripes and co-hosted a radio talk show on US media for Japan’s NHK public radio. She has received numerous journalism awards and fellowships, including the EWC's Jefferson Fellowship and the Mary Morgan Hewett Award for Women in Journalism. Kreifels taught Global Communication at the University of Hawai`i and lectured on international journalism issues at both the China School of Journalism in Beijing and as the Copple-Hearst Lecturer at the University of Nebraska School of Journalism. She founded International Women in Communications, Tokyo, and is a founding member of the Asian Journalists Association. She earned an M.A. in education from the University of Nebraska and completed graduate work in Japan Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC.

Washington DC Correspondent, Korean Broadcasting System

Jungmin Lee has worked at KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) for 20 years and is currently a KBS Washington DC correspondent. She has spent much of her career covering inter-Korean relations and international affairs. Before working in the US from July 2021 she worked for two years as the deputy director of KBS' Department of Unification and Foreign Affairs. She is a former producer of the TV program "The Window Between Two Koreas" as well as a former host of the radio program "Guidebook for Reunification," both specializing in inter-Korean relations.

Founder & CEO, Lotus Media House; Adjunct Professor, USC Annenberg

May Lee (@mayleeasia) is an award-winning journalist who has been both a US based and international anchor, host, correspondent and producer. At the start of 2020, May’s production company, Lotus Media House, partnered with NextShark, the leading Asian online news source, to launch The May Lee Show,  a vodcast (video-podcast) focused on Asian and Asian American issues and stories. She has since become a prominent voice in the effort to combat anti-Asian hate that exploded due to COVID-19. In July 2021, she was named one of Forbes' 50 Over 50 women leading the way in impact. Along with her media projects, May is also an adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. In the past year, she developed a new course, “Evolution of Asian Americans and the Media” to fill the educational gap when it comes to Asian American history. Over the span of her decades long career, May has been an anchor and correspondent for CNN, CNBC, NHK, CGTN America and Oprah Winfrey’s first network, Oxygen Media.

Vice President, East-West Center; Director, East-West Center in Washington

Dr. Satu P. Limaye (@SatuLimaye) is Vice President of the East-West Center and the Director of the East-West Center in Washington where he created and now directs the Asia Matters for America initiative and is the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Bulletin. He is also a Senior Advisor at CNA Corp (Center for Naval Analyses). He is a graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar.

Director, Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

Mr. Martin is the Director of the Department of Defense Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE‐DM) on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaiʻi. He directs training, education, applied research, plans and analysis, and crisis support during disasters in support of US Indo-Pacific Command, while retaining worldwide support responsibilities. Mr. Martin also serves as the Climate Change Impact program director for Indo-Pacific Command. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in October 2016 upon resuming duties as the Center’s Director; he previously served as the Director of CFE-DM from May 2014 to June 2016 while on active duty as a US Air Force colonel.   

Prior to his current position, he was the Director of Pacific Outreach at US Indo-Pacific Command, part of a nearly 27-year Air Force career as logistics planner, supply/fuels officer, and logistics readiness officer. He commanded five times at the Flight, Squadron, and Group level, and deployed for Operations Deny Flight, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. Additionally, he served on the Logistics Staff at Pacific Air Forces and the Air Staff, and completed joint positions with the Defense Logistics Agency, US Forces Korea, and US Indo-Pacific Command. Mr. Martin received multiple joint and service awards, and holds graduate degrees from Troy State University, the Air Force Institute of Technology, Air University, and National Defense University.  

Founder, Trusting News

Joy Mayer (@MayerJoy) founded Trusting News in 2016 after a 20-year career in newsrooms and teaching. The Trusting News team works with researchers and newsrooms to examine perceptions of news and trains journalists in transparency and engagement strategies. Ms. Mayer spent 12 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she created an audience engagement curriculum and a community outreach team in the newsroom of the Columbia Missourian. In addition to serving as the director of Trusting News, she is an adjunct faculty member at The Poynter Institute. She is based in Sarasota, Florida.

Former Senior News Reporter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Philippa McDonald (@Philippa_mc) was a Senior Reporter at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for 30 years (until late 2020). Her award-winning career in journalism has been in TV News, radio and digital news and investigations. Philippa has reported from all over Australia and the world including South East Asia, the Pacific, India, China, and London.

Philippa is former East-West Center Jefferson Fellow, has studied at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (University of Oxford) and has been a delegate to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). In Australia she has been the chair of the Trustees of the Walkley Foundation (which recognizes excellence in journalism), Vice President of the MEAA (union covering journalists), and a director of the Media, Safety and Solidarity Fund.

Throughout 2022, Philippa has been working with ABC International Development, delivering journalism masterclasses in the Pacific as part of PACMAS (Pacific Media Assistance Scheme) alongside FemLINKPacific and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Founder and CEO, News Literacy Project

Alan C. Miller (@alanmillerNLP) is the founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project (NLP), the largest provider of news literacy education in the country. He established NLP in 2008, following a 21-year career at the Los Angeles Times, to give middle and high school educators the tools to teach their students how to separate fact from fiction in the digital age. NLP now offers programs and resources for educators and the general public to teach, learn and share the ability to be smart, active consumers of news and other information and equal and engaged participants in democracy. During his journalism career, Mr. Miller received more than a dozen national reporting honors, including the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2020, he was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. In 2021, he won the AARP Purpose Prize. Mr. Miller is a graduate of Wesleyan University and has a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaiʻi.

Editor-in-Chief & Managing Director, Mizzima Media Group

Mr. Soe Myint (@sm_mizzima) has been working in the media field since 1992 in different capacities from reporting, managing, and training. He was in exile for 24 years while the country was under military dictatorship. He founded Mizzima (derived from the Pali word for “middle” or “moderate”) in New Delhi, India in 1998 together with Daw Thin Thin Aung. In January 2012, Mizzima was the first exile media to move back inside Myanmar after the country opened up to democratic change.

Myanmar's military regime forcibly shut down Mizzima's television channel shortly after seizing power in February 2021, revoking Mizzima's media licenses and raiding Mizzima's headquarters in Yangon. Thus far six Mizzima journalists including co-founder Daw Thin Thin Aung have been arrested and tortured by the regime. Four of them (including Daw Thin Thin Aung) were released in late 2021, but their two colleagues remain imprisoned by the state. Soe Myint and 17 other Mizzima journalists face government charges for Mizzima’s continued reporting following the coup, facing life in prison or worse.

Despite these dangers, Soe Myint and his Mizzima colleagues are presently working from locations both inside and outside the country to continue Mizzima's operations as independent media in Myanmar. Mizzima's 140 employees continue to broadcast and publish independent news, information, and entertainment through two free-to-air satellite TV channels, short wave radio, FM radio, web publications, and social media, reaching more than 30 million readers and viewers every day both inside and outside Myanmar. Mizzima has also established Mizzima Media Training Institute inside Myanmar to train young generation of media personnel for future Burma/Myanmar. Soe Myint’s publications include the 2003 release “Burma File: A Question of Democracy”, as well as numerous articles in various newspapers and magazines. He is a regular speaker and invited guest at national and international forums on media in Myanmar. Soe Myint also currently serves as Chairperson for the Media Development Committee of Burma News International (BNI). He is the 2022 Greeley Peace Scholar at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Independent Multimedia Journalist

Safina Nabi is an independent multimedia journalist from South Asia based in Kashmir. She writes on conflict, human rights, gender, health, social justice, culture, and the environment. Her stories have appeared in a range of Indian and international publications like The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Slate, Vice, openDemocracy, Christian Science Monitor, and Article14 among others. One of her investigations has been nominated for the True Story Award 2020 under the Human Rights category; the final winners will be announced in June 2022 in Bern, Switzerland. Safina received a Laadli Media Jury Appreciation Award in 2020 for her gender-sensitive reporting, was shortlisted for the 2021 Red Ink Awards in the women empowerment category, and is a Pulitzer Center Grantee. She completed her Master’s degree in mass communication and journalism at the University of Kashmir.

Pakistan Gender Coordinator & Trainer, International Federation of Journalists

Lubna Jerar Naqvi (@raiseqalam) is a journalist, social media expert, social media security for journalist trainer, women rights activist, gender and harassment trainer and media trainer. She is an advocate of human rights with focus on women and children rights and has highlighted various issues prevalent in Pakistan on both national and international fronts. She is currently IFJ’s Pakistan Gender Coordinator and Trainer, the social media and gender safety trainer for International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and recently has been elected to IFJ Council Member for Gender 2022-2025. She also serves as the Vice President of Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) and is member of Pakistan Federal Union for Journalists (PFUJ). She has also been a researcher for the UNESCO-IFJ report "Asia-Pacific media through a gender lens" in 2014-15. She is also the first woman from Pakistan to receive the South Asia Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity in 2015.

Imagery Analyst and Principal/Founder, Armillary Services

Allison Puccioni has been an imagery analyst for over 25 years, working within the military, tech, defense, media, and academic communities. After honorably serving in the US Army as an Imagery Analyst from 1991 - 1997, Allison continued the tradecraft within the Defense Industry: augmenting US and NATO operations in the Kosovo airstrike campaign, and as a Senior Analyst and Mission Planner for Naval Special Warfare Group One. After earning her Masters Degree in International Policy, Allison established the commercial satellite imagery analysis capability for the British publication Jane's, publishing Open Source imagery analysis for six years. In 2015, Allison joined Google to assist with the establishment of applications for its commercial small-satellites. Today, Allison is the Principal and Founder of Armillary Services, providing insight on commercial imaging satellites and associated analytics to the governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the commercial sector. Concurrently, Allison manages the multi-sensor imagery analysis team at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Executive Editor, Jagran New Media

Pratyush Ranjan (@pratyush_ranjan) has more than 19 years of experience in the Indian digital news media industry. His key expertise areas are fact checking, digital content management, newsroom & editorial process management, cross-functional team leadership, use of artificial intelligence in newsrooms. Pratyush is a certified Fact Check Trainer at GNI India Training Network. Pratyush particpated in the "JournalismAI" project (2020), a comprehensive study of the role of AI in the future of journalism led by the London School of Economics' POLIS think tank. He recently won a Silver Award at the South Asian Digital Media Awards under Best COVID-19 Project for his talk show Jagran Dialogues, an exclusive series with top medical experts on COVID-19 pandemic and COVID "misinfodemic." Pratyush has a Data Journalism certificate from the East-West Center and a certificate on Countering State-Based COVID-19 disinformation by CRDF-Global. At present, Pratyush heads the editorial digital desks of Jagran Hindi and English, the online platform of the Dainik Jagran Group.

Co-Founder, CEO, & Executive Editor,

Maria Ressa (@mariaressa) is the co-founder, CEO, and executive editor of, an online news organization in the Philippines. Maria, one of TIME’s Persons of the Year for 2018 and TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019, has been honored around the world for her courageous and bold work in fighting disinformation, “fake news," and attempts to silence the free press.

In 2021 Maria became the first Filipino recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

Maria advises organizations and corporations on corporate governance, values, and strategy. Her experience as a journalist and an entrepreneur in the digital world makes her a sought-after keynote speaker and panelist.

A journalist for over 35 years, Maria has been arrested on 10 charges related to exposing the Duterte government’s corrupt practices and was convicted of cyber-libel in June. She is out on bail pending her appeal, but true to form, Ressa vows to keep fighting.

Maria was featured in the 2020 documentary A Thousand Cuts, which profiles her fearless reporting on the abuses of Duterte’s presidency, while also illustrating social media’s capacity to deceive and entrench political power.

Independent Journalist

Ravinder Singh is an independent journalist, presently contributing to BBC World Services and national media networks under the byline Ravinder Singh Robin. He is a prolific and thought-provoking professional, regularly expressing his views in public speeches and media. He has contributed to Reuters, Voice of America, Asian News International, All India Radio, national television, and vernacular media. In his 16-year stint with Asian News International (ANI), he covered foreign visits of Presidents, Prime Ministers, and ministers. He has extensively covered many international and national events including G20, Nuclear Summit, BRICS, ASEAN, SAARC, Indo Pak Conflicts, the Gaza Strip conflict, Heart of Asia, and significant ministerial conferences. He has had the distinction of covering the United Nations General Assembly and important UN events including bilateral summits.

As an enthusiastic traveller, Robin has travelled extensively to the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Europe, the Middle East including Israel and Palestine, East Asia, and South Asia to investigate stories and produce documentaries. In 2016 Singh established Offborders Productions, a resource-consulting and multimedia company, to produce documentaries for global media houses. He has received numerous accolades from various state and federal governments for his contributions towards journalism and society.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Bild-Zeitung

Paul Ronzheimer (@ronzheimer) entered journalism immediately after high school as a trainee at his hometown's local newspaper, Emder Zeitung. He remained there as an editor until 2008, when he moved to the Axel Springer Academy of Journalism and Technology. From 2009 to 2011, Ronzheimer worked as a Berlin parliamentary correspondent for Bild, Germany and Europe's most-distributed newspaper. In 2012 he became Chief Politics Reporter, specializing in war and crisis reporting from Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Ronzheimer became Bild's Deputy Editor-in-Chief in 2019. In 2022 he recieved recognition as one of the few foreign correspondents to remain in Kyiv following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He has continued to report since the early days of the war, having relocated in May to the highly-contested Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

Pakistan Correspondent, The Diplomat

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (@khuldune) is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator. He is the Pakistan correspondent for The Diplomat and an editor for 101Reporters. He is the cofounder of Pakistani news satire publications Khabaristan Times, which was banned by the Pakistani state, and The Dependent.

His work has been featured in The Guardian, The Independent, Foreign Policy, the BBC, The SpectatorHaaretz, Arab News, The Daily Beast, Courrier International, Le Monde, Welt Sichten, Vox, and MIT Technology Review, among other publications.

Professor of Political Science, Illinois Institute of Technology

Dr. Matthew A. Shapiro is a professor of political science at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a research affiliate at Argonne National Laboratory's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research. He was selected as a 2022-23 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to research South Korea's green innovation efforts with the United States and China, and he has held research fellowships and appointments at the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University, the East Asia Institute, the Industrial Technology Research Institute, and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.

Dr. Shapiro’s published and ongoing research focuses on the challenges of R&D collaboration and technology transfer, transboundary air pollution in Northeast Asia, politicized science and green energy, and filter bubble formation and social media signaling. His work has been published in Energy Policy, Environmental Science & Policy, The Pacific Review, Environment and Planning, American Politics Research, Environmental Communication, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and Scientometrics among others.

Dr. Shapiro was trained in political science, economics, and public policy at the University of California at San Diego (BA) and the University of Southern California (MA, PhD), and he earned an MA in Korean Studies at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Studies.

Senior Editor, The Wire

Arfa Khanum (@khanumarfa) is Senior Editor at The Wire, India’s largest independent digital news website, where she leads the multimedia team. She has previously worked with NDTV, Rajya Sabha TV, and Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s TV show, Satyamev Jayate. She has spent two decades in the broadcast news sector covering politics, policy, and governance issues with a special focus on social justice. At The Wire, she hosts widely viewed video shows, primarily devoted to the issues of people living on the margins of Indian democracy that are largely ignored by the big media.

She is a recipient of the Red Ink Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Journalist for her reporting from Kashmir despite the Indian government’s lockdown on communication following its 2019 decision to strip the state of its autonomy. She was a Media Ambassadors Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany (2017) and East West Center’s Senior Journalists Seminar Fellow (2018). She has a PhD and was the second-ever elected woman vice president of Aligarh Muslim University’s alumni association. She is an Advisor in Residence for the Led By Foundation, a leadership program for young Indian Muslim women incubated at Harvard’s Centre for Public Leadership.

Staff Reporter, The Fuller Project

Disha Shetty (@dishashetty20) is a South Asia-based staff reporter at The Fuller Project, where she writes about environment and health issues. She is the winner of ICFJ’s 2018 Global Health Reporting Contest, and has been a 2019 RAF fellow to the UN. She has received reporting grants from the Pulitzer CenterEarth Journalism Network, and International Women's Media Fund, among others. Disha holds a Master's degree in science journalism from Columbia University. She lives in Pune, India.

Co-Founder & President, Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers

Jorge Luis Sierra (@latinointx) is a co-founder and President of the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers, a non-profit organization based in Edinburg Texas. He is leading the Investigative Reporting Border Hub project to produce data-driven stories on corruption issues at both sides of the US–Mexico border. He works at the intersection of cybersecurity, technology, and investigative reporting. Sierra has taken professional programs on cybersecurity at Harvard University, the University of Texas, and the University of Colorado.

As an investigative reporter and editor, Jorge Luis focuses on the intersection of technology, investigative journalism, and cybersecurity. He directed the Mike O’Connor Fellowship Program, a project dedicated to developing new generations of Mexican investigative reporters to conduct in-depth investigations about corruption, torture, human trafficking, and abuse of Mexican private soldiers. As a Knight Fellow of the International Center for Journalists, he created digital maps to track crime, corruption, and attacks on journalists in Panama, Mexico, and Iraq. He developed the Salama web application for journalists and human rights defenders to conduct a risk assessment and improve their security posture. He is the author of a dozen books and chapters on counterinsurgency and armed conflicts.

Co-Founder & CEO, Splice Media

Alan Soon (@alansoon) is the co-founder of Splice Media, which supports the growth of media startups in Asia through training, networking, and the occasional funding. A career journalist for two decades, Alan has worked in radio, television, news wires, magazine, and online across Asia, giving him unique insight into how various newsrooms get things done—and where they get stuck. He started his career as a reporter and grew into other operational roles at Bloomberg, CNBC, Kyodo News, Star TV, and Channel NewsAsia. He later ran Yahoo’s media business in India and Southeast Asia.

Executive Director, APEC Secretariat

Dr. Tan Sri Datuk Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria (@Rebecca_APEC) is the executive director of the APEC Secretariat based in Singapore, which serves as the advisory body, implementation arm, and custodian of institutional memory for the 21-member economies that make up the APEC forum. Prior to joining APEC, Dr. Sta Maria was a top-level Malaysian civil servant, trade negotiator and academic. She was the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2010 to 2016, where she oversaw the formulation of Malaysia’s international trade policies and positions and often took the lead in their implementation as chief negotiator for bilateral and regional free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Dr. Sta Maria played an integral role in Malaysia’s participation in multilateral forums such as APEC, where she often represented her economy during the APEC Ministers’ Responsible for Trade Meetings and the Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meetings. Dr. Sta Maria is the first woman executive director of the APEC Secretariat.

Oceania Research Fellow, East-West Center

Dr. Tammy Tabe is Oceania research fellow at the East-West Center. Previously, she was a lecturer at the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at The University of the South Pacific. A Solomon Islander of I-Kiribati and Tuvaluan descent, Dr. Tabe has worked widely in the Pacific Islands, specifically in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati on marine protected areas, ecosystem-based adaptation, gender inequality, historical relocations of Pacific Islands people, identity and diaspora, and climate change induced migration and displacement. She has established collaborative networks with international and national organizations, institutions, and communities across the Pacific.

Founder, VanMedia Group

Glenn van Zutphen is a career international journalist and the Founder of VanMedia Group Pte Ltd, a worldwide media consultancy. He also hosts the weekly "Saturday Mornings” radio show on MoneyFM 89.3, Singapore’s most trusted business news station. As a professional journalist for more than 25 years, Glenn worked in print, radio, television, and online news for many media outlets including, CNN InternationalCNBC AsiaABC News Radio, NHK JapanUSA Today, and others in the US, Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

In recent years, Glenn has coached over 2500 high-performing journalists, business leaders, and students around the world to be confident, credible, and clear in their spoken & written communication across all platforms; he is a recognized interviewer, communications expert, keynote speaker, and facilitator. Glenn currently sits on the Boards of the East-West Center Alumni Association, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, and the Asian American Journalists Association-Asia. He was an EWC Jefferson Fellow in 2002 and the inaugural recipient of the East-West Center's 21st Century Outstanding Service Award in 2016 for his volunteer work across Asia Pacific. Glenn holds a Master’s Degree in Digital Media Management from Teesside University (UK) & Hyper Island Singapore, and a BA from the University of Southern California.

President, East-West Center

Ms. Suzanne (Suzy) Puanani Vares-Lum took office as President of the East-West Center in January 2022. She is the first woman, Native Hawaiian, and Hawaiʻi resident to be chosen for this role. Vares-Lum brings executive leadership and planning experience spanning the past several decades, culminating in five years serving with and advising the most senior officials at US Indo-Pacific Command, where she cultivated and maintained key relationships with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

As a retired Major General with 34 years of service, Vares-Lum has held key roles addressing priority national security challenges in the region. After retirement, she formed Vares-Lum Indo-Pacific Consulting, LLC to provide consulting and advising on regional issues. She is a seasoned keynote speaker and advocate on Indo-Pacific issues; leadership and mentorship; and Women, Peace, and Security. She led collaborative initiatives in the Pacific, including Hawaiʻi, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

As a community leader, Vares-Lum serves on a variety of non-profit boards, including the American Red Cross Pacific Islands Region, Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, and the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research. She is a current member of the US-Japan Council, and has also served on committees that promote Hawaiʻi’s economic diversification, workforce development, and community dialogues on issues regarding land and water.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1989 and her Master of Education in Teaching in 1996 from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. As a graduate of the US Army War College, she earned a Master of Strategic Studies degree in 2011. In 2019, she became a National Security Fellow of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is also an alumna of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Director of Training and Research, BOOM FactCheck

H R Venkatesh (@hrvenkatesh) is Director, Training and Research at the fact-checking organisation BOOM Live, where he also runs the media literacy initiative Media Buddhi. His work focuses on how news organisations can fight disinformation, bias and polarization in communities in South Asia. He is a former John S. Knight Fellow in journalism at Stanford University and a former ICFJ Knight Fellow. Venkatesh also founded Ekta News Coalition, a collaboration of news organisations in India. He was a founding editor at The Quint and Senior Anchor at CNN-IBN. In 2022, Venkatesh also launched the 100-day Indian Journalism Project. Venkatesh lives in New Delhi and has been educated at Bangalore, Symbiosis, and Oxford Universities. 

Environmental Research Fellow, East-West Center

Dr. Kevin Woods an environmental research fellow at the East-West Center specializing in political ecology and human geography, with a focus on land and natural resources, ethnic-based armed conflict, and rebel governance. His geographic focus is in mainland Southeast Asia, especially Myanmar, where has worked in varying capacities for nearly two decades. Dr. Woods has also worked as a policy analyst for several international non-profits on land and environmental governance reforms in war and postwar settings.

Founding Director, Center for Global Peace Journalism

Steven Youngblood is a professor of Communications and Peace Studies. He has organized and taught peace journalism seminars and workshops in 40 countries/territories (27 in person; 13 via Zoom). Youngblood is a two-time Fulbright Scholar (Moldova 2001, Azerbaijan 2007). He also served as a US State Department Senior Subject Specialist in Ethiopia in 2018. Youngblood is the author of Peace Journalism Principles and Practices and Professor Komagum. He edits ” magazine, and writes and produces the Peace Journalism Insights blog. He has been recognized for his contributions to world peace by the US State Department, Rotary International, and the World Forum for Peace, which named him a Luxembourg Peace Prize laureate for 2020-21. 


2022 East-West Center International Media Conference
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